Damon Wilson: It is the absence of security for Georgia and Ukraine that has tempted Russia to occupy and annex their territory

 “Russia aims to keep these neighbors at best in a permanent grey zone, and at worst under its domination” - Damon Wilson of the Atlantic Council of US said at the Helsinki Commission hearing titled "On Violations of the OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation, and Severe Human Rights Situation in the Illegally Occupied Regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia”.
 
Damon Wilson extensively spoke about Russia’s aggression against Georgia in 2008, the 10th anniversary of the Bucharest Summit, the interests of the U.S. and international security.

 “We witnessed in this Brussels Summit that despite transatlantic tensions and division, there was consensus on enlargement. This is significant because this consensus allowed NATO to meet the Bucharest commitment. Enlargement is a stabilizing factor. Enlargement advances US interests as it welcomes nations to our alliance which are willing to assume the responsibility of becoming an ally, while also ensuring that the new ally is immunized from Russia’s efforts to destabilize it” - Damon Wilson said.   
 
He spoke about Georgia’s progress on the NATO integration path and its contribution to the strengthening of Euro-Atlantic security. “Allies should make clear that their commitment that there is no third-party veto over enlargement decision means that Russian occupation will not serve as an obstacle to membership” – he said
 

According to him, Georgians and Ukrainians have done more than most to fight to defend the principles of the Alliance. They are also prepared to be serious contributors. Both spend well over 2 percent of their GDP on defense. Georgia is among the most significant troop contributors to NATO and other international missions. “Permitting these nations’ aspirations to be held hostage by Russian occupation and intimidation is a recipe for instability and conflict in Europe. We cannot allow these nations, known as captive nations for much of the 20th century, to become known as hostage nations in the 21st century. Rather, we should recognize that they stand on the frontline of freedom and anchor them within our NATO alliance to ensure peace in Europe’s East” - Damon Wilson said.